A surprise good enough to entertain fans and newcomers alike.
Sega’s iconic blue hedgehog has had a hard time of it lately. And by “lately,” I mostly mean since Sonic Adventure. There have been some high points here and there (Sonic Colors, for example), but for the most part, Sonic games have been “meh” at best, utterly unplayable at worst. So I’m not going to be mad if you don’t immediately believe me that Sonic Lost World is good enough to make you get up and do a moderately embarrassing victory dance that involves fist pumps and butt shakes. That’s cool, I don’t blame you for being skeptical. But holy wow, this game is a damn good time.
I played through three different levels, each featuring a different style of overall play. Sonic Lost World wanted to meet new players and old pros halfway by putting Sonic’s trademark speed on demand, rather than having him run full-tilt the entire time. His slower pace allows for more precise platforming, which was on display in a sidescrolling level made up of pieces of candy. I dodged truffle bombs and ran across bridges made of red licorice, butt bouncing on enemies to release the fluffy animals trapped within. Pulling the right trigger on the Wii U controller lets Sonic run faster, allowing players with a bit more experience jumping for rings zip along the level. Pulling the left trigger puts Sonic into Sonic Dash mode, which can be used to help access hidden areas or just blast through enemies.
The other two areas I tried were both 3d and reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy in the way you moved around the environment, rolling it left and right to circulate the space and choose different paths. One level was more about exploring that kind of movement, as well as trying Sonic’s new wall run move to slide along a waterfall past a bunch of spikes in the river below. The other level was where I repeatedly plummeted to my death as I had to move Sonic left and right as he ran full-tilt through a level that had some pretty serious building code violations. Seriously, whoever you are, you can just leave out pieces of a bridge and hope people will be quick enough to just jump over them. It’s dangerous.
Sonic Lost World knows where it comes from, but also clearly wants to feel modern and relevant by mixing up the different playstyles. It could’ve felt like a watered-down cop out that was trying to please too many different tastes, but it succeeds wonderfully. Even when I was failing, I was having fun. Admittedly, that’s because I found the way Sonic splatted into a wall unreasonably hilarious, but it was mostly because Sonic Lost World knows how you want to feel when you play a Sonic game, and provides it. If you have a Wii U, you’re going to want it when it comes out this holiday season.
Sonic Lost World will also be out for 3DS this holiday season.